RICHMOND, VA — Mark Payton’s three-run home run in the seventh inning broke a 4-4 tie to push the Thunder to a 12-6 victory over the Richmond Flying Squirrels on Monday night at The Diamond.
Payton’s blast came off of Jose Casilla following a leadoff double from Abiatal Avelino and a one-out walk from Mike Ford. Payton attacked the first pitch and kept the mammoth shot just inside the right field foul pole for his fourth home run of the year.
Richmond rallied back with a pair of run in the bottom of the eighth against Travis Hissong and Tyler Jones. Jones entered with a 7-5 lead and got Ryder Jones to ground to the shortstop, Avelino, only for the him to throw away the toss to first base. With runners on second and third, Jones struck out Hunter Cole to keep the lead at 7-6.
In the ninth, Richmond was out of available pitchers for the game and sent outfielder Tyler Horan to the mound. The Thunder jumped all over Horan and scored five times on a two-run home run from Mike Ford, who had four RBIs, an RBI single from Dante Bichette Jr., and a two-run triple from Dustin Fowler.
Ronald Herrera started for the Thunder and overcame a rough first inning on the mound. Herrera went 5.1 innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on seven hits and two walks. Diego Moreno earned the victory as the pitcher of record when Payton hit his tie-breaking blast.
The two-homer game from the Thunder (Payton and Ford) was the third time this season the team had a pair of round-trippers in the game. Fowler’s league-leading 11th triple of the season extended his single-season franchise record. Billy McKinney extended his on-base streak to seven games with a fifth inning double.
The Thunder continue their series against Richmond at 7:05 Tuesday night. RHP Kyle Haynes will start for the Thunder, his first of the season in Double-A, the Squirrels will counter with RHP Sam Coonrod. Listen live to Thunder baseball beginning at 6:50pm on 91.3 FM WTSR and online at TrentonThunder.com